10 Best Wii RPGs From Nintendo’s Party Console

As the champion of all things movement, the Nintendo Wii’s architecture didn’t particularly lend itself to the field of role-playing games. That’s not to say it was completely void of these types of games — but they were few and far between compared to previous Nintendo consoles like the GameCube, Nintendo 64, and SNES. Still, it’s about quality over quantity, and the best Wii RPGs prove Nintendo’s prowess in the realm of role-play.

Today’s article goes over 10 of the top RPGs on the platform; it also includes established IPs as well as the first installments of now-iconic series. The one thing they have in common? These titles all feature the hallmarks of what constitutes a great RPG, despite the often-limited motion controls of the Wii.

But that’s enough chatter for now. Without further ado, here are the best RPGs for Wii.

10 Best Wii RPGs

Starting at #10, let’s work our way down to the #1 best Nintendo Wii RPG ever made.

10. Phantom Brave: We Meet Again

Phantom Brave- #10 Best Wii RPGs
  • Genre: Tactical RPG
  • Developer: System Prisma
  • Release Year: 2009

Oozing with character thanks to its retro-based visuals, Phantom Brave: We Meet Again is a tactical RPG remake of the original PS2 game.

Developed by System Prisma (as opposed to the original devs, Nippon Ichi Software), Phantom Brave follows the story of a young girl named Marona and her phantom friend, Ash. An evil being called Sulphur is attempting a return to power, and it’s up to the pair to stop his resurrection.

While the story isn’t too extravagant as far as RPGs are concerned, the battle system, as well as how phantoms interact with enemies, offer an incredible take on traditional RPG mechanics. For instance, Marona can direct phantoms to “confine” with things like trees, rocks, and other allies to provide specific boosts to attributes.

I hate to continually use the word “charm” when talking about these kinds of games, but that’s exactly what PB: WMA has. The game is a great affair in and of itself, but there’s an underlying, intangible quality that gives it an invisible passive buff you can’t help but love.

9. Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World

Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World
  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Namco Tales Studio
  • Release Year: 2008

Next on our list of best Wii RPGs is Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, a sequel to the original ToS. This game sees you playing as the young hero, Emil Castagnier, after he’s caught in the midst of a war between the Sylvaranti and the Tethe’allans while protecting his new friend, Marta.

ToS: DotNW features a battle system called “FREE-LIMBS,” which stands for “Flex Range Element Enhanced Linear Motion Battle System.” A major component of this system is the type of battlefield you engage enemies on, as you and your opponents gain buffs or nerfs depending on the battle’s terrain or location.

It also took a (razor) leaf out of Pokemon’s book by adding the ability to capture and train monsters to act as your battle companions. The main difference here is that they’re controlled by AI rather than your own commands. That said, you can use them to unleash Unison Attacks that deal immense damage and look pretty damn cool.

8. Pandora’s Tower

Pandora's Tower
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Ganbarion
  • Release Year: 2011

Pandora’s Tower’s fate was nearly sealed, as Nintendo never intended to release it beyond the shores of Japan. However, a fan-driven campaign called Operation Rainfall (a mission to bring Japanese games to Western audiences) managed to bring this title to our list of best Wii RPGs.

This action RPG incorporates the Wii’s kinetic features into its mechanics, giving its combat and exploration a unique aspect compared to other titles that occupy the same space. Take the Wiimote, and assume the role of Aeron as he embarks on a journey through the thirteen towers to save his love Elena, who’s been afflicted with a curse that is painfully and slowly eroding her humanity. Aeron’s chief weapon is his Oracle Chain that doubles as both a means to dispatch his enemies and a method of navigation around the environments (and by proxy, solving environmental puzzles).

In terms of mechanics, this game splices the DNA of Devil May Cry and The Legend of Zelda. On the one hand, the camera, UI, and combat all match up with the DMC franchise. But on the other, gameplay is primarily about exploring dungeons and defeating hulking bosses that await at the end of them. It’s a neat idea, and the combat is fun, but the graphics are a bit lackluster. 

Pandora’s Tower is an exciting game that shows you shouldn’t judge a game by its graphics. Or something of that nature.

7. Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Muramasa The Demon Blade
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Vanillaware
  • Release Year: 2009

As pleasurable to play as it is to behold, Muramasa: The Demon Blade’s art style pangs very much of games like The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai and its sequel, Vampire Smile.

In Muramasa, you play as two ninjas, Momohime and Kisuke. This dynamic duo is tasked to fight against the power of the Demon Blades, cursed samurai swords that slowly drive their possessors insane and cause them to seek the blood of all they encounter.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade’s real pièce de résistance is its combat, by which the game lives or dies. I, for one, am a fan of the combat’s simplicity, but those who want more complexity and depth from their RPG enemy encounters won’t find it here — it’s just too easy. That said, there’s a ton of weapon variation providing different battle styles (though most people can probably get away with button mashing) and many different ways to approach combos.

Overall, the game’s focus on art and story are huge wins and major standouts among the best Wii RPGs.

6. Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario
  • Genre: Action RPG // Platform
  • Developer: Intelligent Systems
  • Release Year: 2007

Coming in the wake of GameCube’s Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year DoorSuper Paper Mario takes the series in a new direction without sacrificing the humor and charm that the RPG spinoff series has in spades.

In this adorable adventure, Mario and his friends (including the ever-antagonistic Bowser) have to stop Count Bleck from ripping apart the universe after summoning the Chaos Heart that spawned when he forced Bowser and Peach to get married. To achieve this, they must set out to collect Pure Hearts and undo the dimension-destroying Void created by the Chaos Heart.

A traditional Paper Mario game this is not, as it drifts away from the series’s previously established axioms. While elements like a more involved story and tongue-in-cheek writing remain, this game is a 2D action platformer with a much more scaled-back battle system, if indeed you can even call it that.

Although it shakes up battle, Super Paper Mario does elaborate on its predecessor’s mechanic of using characters besides Mario, each with their own utility. For instance, Peach can use her parasol to glide, Bowser can whoop butt in boss encounters, and Luigi has a rather unique role that you’ll have to discover on your own…

The game also makes excellent use of perspective, and you can shift between 2D and 3D to change the environment, leading to wonderfully natural environmental puzzles placed within the levels. It may not be the game many people were expecting, but Super Paper Mario is a great RPG, albeit different in its approach.

5. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn - #5 Best Wii RPGs
  • Genre: Tactical RPG
  • Developer: Nintendo // Intelligent Systems
  • Release Year: 2007

A series of games that might still be unfamiliar to players in the West (aside from avid Super Smash Brothers fans), the tactical RPG series of Fire Emblem enjoyed a strong entry on the Nintendo Wii with 2007’s Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.

Radiant Dawn follows the events of Path of Radiance, with protagonist Micaiah leading the Dawn Brigade against the Begnion army and their benefactor, Ashera, the Goddess of Order. The Begnion and Ashera seek to eradicate humanity due to its apparent “weakness,” and you’re the only force stopping them. The story takes a much deeper route (like most FE games), but that’s the abridged version.

Unlike Super Paper MarioRadiant Dawn sticks with the turn-based combat system that the series is known for, as it’s arguably the core mechanic of the franchise. It also retains most of its characters from the preceding game, plus a new one named Tellius. A cool feature is that save data from Path of Radiance (one of the GameCube’s hidden gems) provides boosted character stats. The decisions you made in PoR will also be referenced in conversation in RD.

A word of warning, though. Fire Emblem is very much a tactical RPG and very much not an action RPG. If thick exposition, slow-burn narratives, and patient, considered gameplay is what you look for in RPGs, this is a title for you. If not, you may want to look at the next of the best Wii RPGs.

4. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years

FFIV The After Years
  • Genre: RPG
  • Developer: Square Enix // Matrix Software
  • Release Year: 2009

The only WiiWare title to appear on this list of best Wii RPGs, this spritely sequel to the original Final Fantasy IV frames its narrative in episodic installments, with the story following on from the events of FFIV.

The events of FFIV: TAY take place around seventeen years after FFIV and center around the descendants of the original game. These descendants are called into action when the second moon reappears, setting mysterious and unknown events into motion that the playable Ceodore and friends must decipher.

Now, I must confess — I’m a big fan of games that put focus on multiple characters. The differences in play style, as well as how each character intertwines with the overall narrative… it’s all so fascinating. But even if I didn’t have this bias, I believe that the game’s multiple playable characters and episodic structure were huge boons for gameplay.

At its core, this game plays like a classic Final Fantasy game, and it’s sure to appeal to fans of RPGs and Final Fantasy alike.

3. The Last Story

The Last Story
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Mistwalker // AQ Interactive
  • Release Year: 2011

Divisive in some respects — where one critic could say it doesn’t innovate enough and another could laud it for sticking to its classical influences – the overall consensus remains the same. The Last Story, which comes from the mind of Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy, is one of the best Wii RPGs ever made.

In The Last Story, you take on the role of Zael, a mercenary bestowed the “Mark of the Outsider,” who joins his new acquaintance, Calista, in her fight against the beastial Gorak and her quest to save the island of Lazulis.

In terms of combat, The Last Story allows you to control Zael manually using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk attachment. Meanwhile, his band of merry mercenaries attacks automatically based on commands issued by the player. This layered approach adds lots of tactical decision-making elements that spice up the game and offer lots of strategic nuance.

True to the utmost core of what makes a role-playing game just that, The Last Story could potentially hit home with fans of Dungeons & Dragons due to its focus on characters and an involved narrative.

2. Monster Hunter 3 

Monster Hunter 3
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Year: 2009

While its development and distribution (and its exclusivity to the Nintendo Wii in general) became a slightly messy issue, that didn’t stop this epic RPG from becoming one of the Wii’s crowning titles in both this particular genre and the system’s entire library of games.

Following the philosophy, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Monster Hunter 3 expands upon what made the previous games great – that is, seeking out and hunting dangerous creatures in the vast open-world, then slaying them to ensure the peace and survival of Moga Village.

Monster Hunter 3 employs a more grindy, MMORPG gameplay approach, with the player acquiring materials from completing quests, defeating/capturing monsters, etc. These materials allow the player to upgrade their equipment, which, in turn, means they can vanquish incrementally tougher creatures. While it may seem like you’re placed on a perpetual treadmill, the battles against the eponymous monsters are miniature set pieces that make you feel like a true hero to the people of Moga.

Monster Hunter 3 is more hardcore in its rigid game design, so it’s not for those that want a looser, more casual experience. If you’re a die-hard, intensive RPG fan, however, MH3 can offer you a hero’s glory and hours upon hours of gameplay.

1. Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles - #1 Best Wii RPGs
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer: Monolith Soft
  • Release Year: 2010

Excelling prominently in its combat mechanics, in-depth world, and environment exploration, Xenoblade Chronicles is something of a magnum opus from Tetsuya Takahashi, and it’s one of the finest video games available for the Wii.

Tied (at the very least spiritually) to the games Xenogears and Xenosaga, Xenoblade takes its story to grandiose, dizzying heights. In this iteration, you play as Shulk, the protagonist who discovers he can wield the Monado sword, a weapon pivotal in his people’s war against the army of the Mechon. As a hero on a mission, Shulk takes the Monado and seeks out to save his people.

Xenoblade Chronicles is often noted for its “real-time automatic” battle system, which engages with threats and most of the time (but not always) gives the player the option of how to engage, if at all. Shulk’s Monado has a number of “arts,” special skills that let him unleash powerful attacks that he can use along with the automatic attacks from those in his party. It’s a fine balance between the turn-based fighting of other RPGs like Final Fantasy and the full-scale real-time bouts of games like Dark Souls or The Elder Scrolls.

XC does what all masterful RPGs do and hands the keys of trust over to the player, allowing them complete freedom to approach the game however they wish and at a pace that suits them. The game is bursting at the seams with content hidden throughout an expansive world, coupled with a heavily detailed story that’s brought to life by its characters, their relationships, and most importantly, the player.

It’s the best of the best Wii RPGs on this list, and we highly recommend giving it a try!